Saturday, October 31, 2009

Antiques for Sale

Some thirty years ago, when wearing my first ex-Marine Corps beret from an army surplus store, I couldn't have dreamed of one time owning well over a hundred berets. It is a bit crazy, I know and the worst thing is: the collection is still growing. I simply can't resist adding interesting berets to the collection.
It may be a good time to sell a few of these berets, create a little space on the walls of our shared bedroom (and keep the relationship with my partner a happy one).
These berets are a combination of acquisitions from other collectors, closed-down hat shops and the remains of the stock from a factory that went into receivership.

Time is not always kind to berets; leather headbands sometimes show cracks (some have cracked right through), some berets have been visited by moths or have got slightly damaged in other ways. I try to give as accurate description of the berets as possible - please have a good look at the accompanying picture and ask questions when you are not sure.

All prices include international air postage and handling!

Sergei Parajanov

Sergei Parajanov, or in his native Armenian language Sargis Hovsepi Parajanyan (Սարգիս Հովսեփի Փարաջանյան) was one of the best known directors of Soviet films. Born in Tbilisi, (then the S.S.R. of) Georgia, to an Armenian family, his work reflected the ethnic diversity of the Caucusus where he was raised.
His first major work was Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (1964), which earned him an international reputation for its rich use of costume and color, and its whimsical portrayal of rural life. Possibly his greatest work, The Color of Pomegranates (1969), described the life of the Armenian poet Sayat Nova. The film angered the Soviet authorities, who claimed that it evoked nationalist sentiment.
Claiming that Paradjanov promoted homosexuality, the government arrested him in 1973 and sentenced him to five years in a labor camp. A large number of prominent artists, writers and filmmakers protested his sentence, but Paradjanov was only released four years later, in large part due to the efforts of the French surrealist Louis Aragon. He was banned for making films for many years afterwards, when he was living in Tbilisi, but he was allowed to make The Legend of Suram Fortress (1984), which captured much of the color of his earlier work.
He managed to direct three more films before he died of cancer in Yerevan, Armenia, in 1990. A house was built for him in Yerevan which was completed shortly after his death, but which now houses all his belongings and has been turned into the Parajanov Museum.

I can't think of an artist more diverse than Parajanov, being a great admirer of his paintings, collages and films.
Here is the master pictured together with Mikhail Vartanov.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Winston Churchil

Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (1874 – 24 January 1965) was a British politician, known chiefly for his leadership of the United Kingdom during World war II. He served as Prime Minister from 1940 to 1945 and again from 1951 to 1955. A noted statesman and orator, Churchill was also an officer in the British Army, historian, writer, and artist. He is the only British Prime Minister who has ever received the Nobel Prize in Literature and the second person to be made an Honorary Citizen of the United States.
No doubt about it that Winston Churchill was a great statesman, although the people of Dresden, the displaced people of various East European countries and victims of Stalin's terror might disagree with me here. Then again, where would we be now had Churchill not been there..?

One thing we can agree upon: he wore a beret and it did not suit him.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

American Apparel

American Apparel is an Industrial Revolution.

American Apparel is the largest clothing manufacturer in the United States, located in down town LA with over 4000 employees. It is a vertically-integrated clothing manufacturer, wholesaler, and retailer that also performs its own design, advertising, and marketing and is best-known for making basic cotton knitwear such as T-shirts and underwear, but in recent years it has expanded - to include all sorts of clothing and accesories for men, women, children, babies and dogs.

With their recently opened stores in China, A.A. are now selling "Made in USA" clothing in the largest consumer market in the world.

The company is known for its provocative and controversial advertising campaigns, which is largely the inspiration of the company CEO Dov Charney. According to Adage, American Apparel's advertising 'telegraphs the brand' from person to person. Their print campaigns are widely considered to be some of the best in the industry. The sexually charged advertising has been criticized, but has also been lauded for honesty and lack of airbrushing. American Apparel images often display subjects with their blemishes, imperfections and asymmetrical features highlighted and attached with brief, personal descriptions. Many of the models in American Apparel's sexual advertising are recruited by Charney and his colleagues on the street, or in the company stores.

Controversial in many ways, with ecological sound practices, social justice, philantropy and advocacy for immigration issues on the company's agenda.
And yes, they manufacture berets as well, in wool and cotton.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fred "Rerun" Berry

Fred "Rerun" Berry (1951 – 2003) was an American actor best known for the role of Fred "Rerun" Stubbs on the popular 1970s television show What's Happening!!.

Berry was born in St. louis, Missouri. Before starring on What's Happening!!, he was a member of the Los Angeles based dance troupe "The Lockers". During that time Berry's nickname was “The Penguin”.

What's Happening!! lasted from 1976 to 1979. He was a millionaire by age 29. After the show ended, Berry had trouble finding work because he was permanently identified with the Rerun character.
Eventually however, he came to embrace his being typecast, and made his peace with it as the best means to maintain his celebrity. In public, he was often seen wearing the red beret and red suspenders that are part of the Rerun character, and even went so far as to have his middle name legally changed to "Rerun".

During the 1980s, Berry battled drug addiction and alcoholism. He revived the character of Rerun in the series What's Happening Now!!, but he was only on that show for a year.
During the 1990s, Berry became a Baptist minister and lost 100 pounds (45 kg) after being diagnosed with diabetes. He made a living during this time mostly through making public appearances as Rerun.
Berry was married six times to four different women.

Berry died on October 21, 2003, at his Los Angeles home where he was recovering from a stroke.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Reduced Understanding...

Okay, it's not much of a post, but since I was going through beret-sporting scientists anyway, I do like George Em Karniadakis' statement:
People who wish to analyze nature without using maths must settle for a reduced understanding

(Professor in Applied Mathematics)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Olivier Messiaen - Composer, Artist

Olivier Eugene Prosper Charles Messiaen (1908 - 1992) was the son of Pierre Messiaen, a scholar of English literature, and of the poet Cecile Sauvage. Soon after his birth the family moved to Ambert (the birthplace of Chabrier) where his brother, Alain was born in 1913. Around the time of the outbreak of World War 1, Cecile Sauvage took Olivier and his younger brother to live with her brother in Grenoble where Olivier Messiaen spent his early childhood, began composing at the age of seven, and taught himself to play the piano.

On his return from the war, Pierre Messiaen took the family to Nantes and in 1919 they all moved to Paris where Olivier entered the Conservatoire.

From very early on it was clear that Messiaen would be a composer who would stand alone in the history of music. Coming not from any particular 'school' or style but forming and creating his own totally individual musical voice. He achieved this by creating his own 'modes of limited transposition', taking rhythmic ideas from India (deci tala), ancient Greece and the orient and most importantly adapting the songs of birds from around the world. He was a man of many interests including painting, literature, and the orient where he took in not only the musical culture but theatre, literature and even the cuisine of foreign countries. The single most important driving force in his musical creations was his devout Catholic faith.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Dr. Chris Busby

Christopher Busby (born 1945) is a British scientist and activist known for his work on the health effects of ionising radiation.

In addition to his academic appointments he is the director of Green Audit, an environmental consultancy agency, and scientific advisor to the Low Level Radiation Campaign which he set up in 1995.Busby is also the National Speaker on Science and Technology for the Green Party of England and Wales, and the Scientific Secretary of the Green Party's European Committee on Radiation Risks, based in Brussels.

And, Dr. Busby is well known for his black Basque Beret, of course.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Linus Pauling

Linus Pauling (1901-1994), the only individual to win two unshared Nobel Prizes, is widely regarded as one of the greatest scientists of the twentieth century.

Pauling was awarded the 1954 Nobel Prize for Chemistry and the 1962 Nobel Prize for Peace.

During the 2nd World War, Pauling worked on military research and development. However, when the war ended he became particularly concerned about the further development and possible use of atomic weapons and with the destruction inflicted on the world by war in general. Ava Helen Pauling, Linus's wife, was a pacifist and in time he came to share her views. Pauling soon began to express his concerns with the effects of nuclear fallout and in 1962, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his campaign against above ground nuclear testing. His beliefs were not without controversy at the time and he was criticized by many for his actions, within and outside the US Government.

His many books include The Nature of the Chemical Bond, one of the most cited sources in scientific history, General Chemistry, and Vitamin C and the Common Cold.
A Picket Today, Tomorrow a Guest. Washington: Atomic Scientist Linus Pauling, who will be President Kennedy's guest tomorrow for Nobel prize winners, pickets the Executive Mansion today. He joins a mass demonstration protesting the resumption of U.S. atmospheric nuclear tests. Asked whether he thought it unusual to picket the white house one day and attend dinner there the next, he quipped, "I don't do any of them regularly."

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Adolf Wölfli - a troubled Artist with Beret

Adolf Wölfli (1864 - 1930) (occasionally spelled Adolf Woelfli or Adolf Wolfli) was a Swiss artist who was one of the first artists to be associated with the Art Brut or Outsider Art label.

Wölfli was abused both physically and sexually as a child, and was orphaned at the age of 10; He thereafter grew up in a series of state-run foster homes. He worked as a farm labourer and briefly joined the army, but was later convicted of attempted child molestation, for which he served prison time. Sometime after being freed, he was arrested for a similar offence and was admitted in 1895 to the Waldau Clinic in Bern, Switzerland, a psychiatric hospital where he spent the rest of his adult life.

He was very disturbed and sometimes violent on admission, leading to him being kept in isolation for his early time at hospital. He suffered from psychosis, which led to intense hallucinations.

At some point after his admission Wölfli began to draw. His first surviving works (a series of 50 pencil drawings) are dated from between 1904 and 1906.

Walter Morgenthaler, a doctor at the Waldau Clinic, took a particular interest in Wölfli's art and his condition, later publishing Ein Geisteskranker als Künstler (A Psychiatric Patient as Artist) in 1921 which first brought Wölfli to the attention of the art world.
Wölfli eventually died in 1930 and his works were taken to the Museum of the Waldau Clinic in Bern. Today, the collection is on display at the Museum of Fine Arts in Bern.
Wölfli's work has inspired many
composers. Perhaps most notable the Danish composer Per Nørgård who after viewing a Wölfli exhibition in 1979 embarked on a schizoid style lasting for several years; among the works of this time are an opera on the life of Wölfli called The Divine Circus.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The NZ Series #4 - The Possum and the Beret

The common brushtail possum was introduced to New Zealand by European settlers in an attempt to establish a fur industry.
They soon escaped into the wild, where they have thrived as an invasive species with great numbers: there are around 70 million individuals estimated in 2009. There are no native predators of the possum in New Zealand. There have been numerous attempts to eradicate them, because of the damage they do to native trees and wildlife, as well as acting as a carrier of bovine tuberculosis. For New Zealand, the introduction of possums has resulted in as much of an ecological disaster as the introduction of rabbits has been in Australia.

Since 1996, efforts have been made to use possum fur in clothing. A blend of Australian brushtailed possum fur with merino wool was developed by Untouched World, a New Zealand fashion label. The product is called merinomink, eco-possum, possumdown, eco fur or possum wool, and accounts for 95% of all commercially caught possum fur. Possum fur is also used for fur trim, jackets, bed throws, and possum leather gloves and, of course, for Berets NZ Style.
One can not say much positive here, in NZ, about this little marsupil without getting into big arguments. Sure, the environmental damage caused by possums is enormous, likewise from deer, rats, cats, dogs and many other species introduced here by mankind over the years, but for me, there is still a big difference in using hair-for-wool-for-berets, or using the skin for a toy like this:

Who on Earth would buy this for their children?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Two Cows

This Pablo Picowso statue, wearing a beret and hosting a bird on its back, is part of the Cow Parade that was on display in Boston, Massachusetts.

This cow is not a statue, but real and alive in Switserland.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Cesta do Praveku

It is not easy finding interesting beret related information from Czechoslovakia, a (former) country with such a rich beret history.
Happy to have found this shot though, from "Cesta do praveku", or "Journey to the Beginning of Time", a pioneering science fiction film by Karel Zeman released in 1955.
Following its release, the film won awards at the International Film Festivals of Venice and Mannheim, and is an excellent example of the animation skills of Karel Zeman. Cesta do pravěku was remarkably convincing, even when compared to recent efforts that use computer animation technology, and the magnificent colour backdrops and authentic sound effects all added to the film's atmosphere. One of the reasons for the film's success is that Zeman was influenced by the palaeo-art of the celebrated Czech artist Zdeněk Burian (1905-1981), upon whose work much of the film's imagery is based (two exceptions being the Stegosaurus and the carnivorous Theropod which attacks it). In some cases, 2-D copies of animals depicted by Burian were superimposed on the background as they were animated, whilst other scenes depicted by Burian were recreated using 3-D animated models.

The story involves four teenage boys who take a rowboat along a "river of time" that enters a cave, and find themselves in a tunnel that opens out onto a river in prehistoric times. As they travel downstream they find they are traveling farther back in time, and facing various perils along the way. The plot is very similar to that of the novel 'Plutonia' by the Russian palaeontologist Vladimir Obruchev, where a team of Russian explorers enter the Earth's crust via an Arctic portal, and follow a river that leads them through a chronological sequence of past geological eras and animal life. The "river of time" in the movie are actually the meanders of the Morava river near Bzenec town in what is now the Czech republic.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Okay... cats

I should have known: posting pictures of beret wearing dogs is asking for trouble... And yes, a 5 minute search rewards you with dozens of pictures of beret wearing cats - despite my old believes, there must be a lot of similarities between dog- and cat-owners.
But not on my blog, please, not more than one anyway...

Friday, October 16, 2009


Pagliacci (Players, or Clowns) is an opera consisting of a prologue and two acts written and composed by Ruggero Leoncavallo. It recounts the tragedy of a jealous husband in a commedia dell'arte troupe.

It is the only opera of Leoncavallo that is still widely staged. Since 1893, it has usually been performed in a double bill with Pietro Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana, a pairing referred to in the operatic world colloquially as "Cav and Pag".

Pagliacci is one of the few opera's that have plenty of berets on stage (commonly it's the opera-visitors wearing the beret).

South Pacific Berets

'The Beret Project's' online store has matured!

Check out our new web site for a large range of berets by Boinas
Elósegui, Bonigor Buenos Aires and Hoodlums.

Easy and safe payment through Paypal - fast handling and shipping.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


So, after a few more serious posts, I believe I can post something like this:

It's quite amazing how many dog lovers and owners dress up their best friend, but despite a pretty good search, I haven't come across a picture of a txapela wearing Chihuahua yet...